All posts by reneeinnd

Hoighty Toighty

I have connected with several members of my mother’s family over the past four years, both in the US and in Germany. The family name is Bartels, which is a patronymic name that is short for Bartholomew in German.  My Grandfather Bartels and his two brothers and four sisters all settled in Minnesota in Rock and Pipestone counties in the early years of the 20th century. They all lived within 20 miles of one another.

The name is properly pronounced BARtels, with the emphasis on the first syllable.  When my grandmother married my grandfather, she changed the pronunciation to BarTELS, which she considered more posh.  She was a city girl from Hamburg and considered my grandfather’s family too rustic for words.  It  only served to distance her from the family, and caused some hard feelings. After all, they were all in the same boat and were all starting over in a new country.  It didn’t much matter what you might have had over there, since now you were over here with not much. Grandma considered herself superior because she spoke formal German, not Plattdeutsch.

We have the same issue here with a German-Hungarian family with the last name of Lefor.  It is rightly pronounced Lefor, (like leper). The more hoighty toighty members of the clan pronounce it LeFOR, as though they are French.  They all live in the same county, and it is quite amusing.

I like the words hoighty toighty. I don’t know its derivation, but it sure captures a concept.

Who do you know who is hoighty toighty? Why do you think they do that? What makes you think well of a person?

 

 

Tomato Personality Types

Well, the garden season is at its height, and, of course, Husband and I are assessing our current varieties and planning next year’s garden.  We just can’t help ourselves. We’re certifiably nuts.

I have been scrutinizing our tomato varieties closely. The header photo is of three Brandyboy tomoto plants (a hybrid) and one San Marzano paste tomato ( an heirloom) planted in front of our house. They are about 6 feet tall, and are wonderful exemplars of their varieties.  The Brandyboys are terrific. I am very unhappy with the other eight San Marzano plants we have, since they are suffering from blight. I spray with fungicide weekly, but it is getting away from me, and I need to find another paste tomato variety next year that is more dependable and more disease resistant and isn’t so much work.  Heirlooms are not very disease resistant. The photo below gives a better idea of their height. The tomatoes are the plants farthest on the right.  The pole beans in the foreground are at least 7 feet tall.

I want a hybrid paste tomato. I want disease resistance. The question is determinate or indeterminate.  I never really quite knew what those terms meant until recently,  and I was delighted to find out that I could use the terms for describing people’s personalities.

Determinate tomatoes produce lots of nice, smaller tomatoes, but stop growing at about 4 feet, and then stop producing any more fruit. They may or may not need staking or supporting cages. They are often really good in shorter season areas. We used to grow them in Winnipeg.  They were short but produced well.

Indeterminate tomatoes absolutely need staking or other supports.  They never stop producing fruit or growing taller and wider until it freezes.  Our Brandyboys and San Marzanos are indeterminate, and the plants are enormous.  They are, even now, producing flowers and fruit.  I have the cages supported with bungee cords and stakes to keep them from tipping over.

I have decided to grow Brandyboys again next year, along with a few San Marzanos and a hybrid indeterminate variety named Gladiator.  It will be an experimental year.

What kind of tomato are you? Determinate, indeterminate?  Hybrid, heirloom? What kind of tomato do you want to be?

 

Woeful Wednesday

I don’t know why, but for the past month or so, Wednesdays have proven to be the most exhausting and problem-filled days of the week for me.  Everyone seems to go into crisis.  I get more phone calls.  Coworkers need more things from me.  Administrators are around more.  Things get hectic at the regulatory board of which I am a member, so I get many emails from the office needing immediate replies.

I typically don’t dread any day of the week, but I am starting to dread Wednesday.  Even Monday is better.

Which day of the week, month of the year, or holiday could you do without?  Which do you welcome?

Helpful Hints When You Travel

I ran across a little book belonging to my father INSTRUCTIONS  for AMERICAN SERVICEMEN in BRITAIN 1942.  It was issued by the War Department, Washington, DC.  It is a delightful little manual for good relations when you visit Great Britain.  I feel like I should send it back to Washington so they can reread it. Here are some of the headings:

NO TIME TO FIGHT OLD WARS

BRITISH ARE RESERVED, NOT UNFRIENDLY

DON’T BE A SHOW OFF

THE BRITISH ARE TOUGH

AGE INSTEAD OF SIZE

REMEMBER THERE’S A WAR ON

BRITAIN, CRADLE OF DEMOCRACY

WASTE MEANS LIVES

KEEP OUT OF ARGUMENTS

BE FRIENDLY, BUT DON’T INTRUDE ANYWHERE IT SEEMS YOU ARE NOT WANTED

IT IS ALWAYS IMPOLITE TO CRITICIZE YOUR HOSTS; IT IS MILITARILY STUPID TO CRITICIZE YOUR ALLIES

I think this is a nice quote ” When you see a girl in khaki or air force blue with a bit of ribbon on her tunic, remember she didn’t get it for knitting more socks than anyone else in Ipswich”.

Well, that sort of sums up a lot, doesn’t it.

Do you have any advice to add to the list? 

Surprise!

Our daughter phoned yesterday, full of excitement about some wonderful Chevre goat cheese and creamy Brie she had discovered at a farmers market, as well as the thrill of being held up as an exemplar of paperwork perfection at her work during a Medicaid audit.

This surprises me. In elementary, middle school, and high school I could have presented her as an exemplar of the biggest flibberty-gibbet, fly-by-night slacker of my acquaintance.  I guess maturation happens, but I never expected this from her!

Who or what has surprised you, for good or for naught?

Bread and Circuses

August 4 has been pretty busy through the centuries, so I am leaving this blog post pretty open for the weekend for Baboons to comment on three pretty fun things.

In 1693, Dom Perignon is said to have invented Champagne.

In 1777,  Retired British cavalry officer Philip Astley established his riding school with performances in London,  a precursor of the circus.

in 1919,  The Rodin Museum opens in Paris in The Hôtel Biron containing works left to the state by the sculptor Auguste Rodin.

Say what you will about Champagne, circuses, and sculpture.

That’s What Neighbors Do

Well, the Trump supporting wife beater moved out of the house across the street taking his Trump sign with him.  They are renting the house to his wife’s son and daughter in law,  a young couple with a 2 or 3 year old girl, a cat, and a retriever-type dog.  I had high hopes for them until the young man hung a large Confederate flag from the front of house.

The other day another neighbor and I spotted the girl, the cat, and the dog running around  without any supervision.  The girl was happy as could be running into the other yards, with the dog doing its own exploration and the cat lying down in the middle of the street.  The neighbor grabbed the dog and the girl while I rang the doorbell to inform them that everyone was loose. The cat had already sauntered back to safety.  The mom was mortified and thanked us profusely. The little girl had just learned to open the gate to the back yard, and took advantage of her new skill.

A day or so later, the dad came over while I was in the front yard. He again thanked me and said they were so grateful we had noticed their daughter and animals, and offered to do any heavy yard work I might need done as a thank you. I told him that wasn’t necessary, as what we did was just what neighbors do. He seemed puzzled about that. He didn’t seem to understand that neighbors help without expectation of recompence .He also spoke with a southern twang, so he is evidently not from around here.

I suppose I could have asked him to take down the flag, but if he doesn’t  understand the concept of being neighborly, he might not have understood the request. I will just hope for other opportunities to show kindness.

What sort of flag would be a good response to the flag across the street? Tell about some of your more memorable neighbors.